After the 45-16 loss Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, Kelly said he thought Kaepernick played "OK" but that there were things Kaepernick can continue to develop. Asked whether Kaepernick, who started for the first time since Week 8 of last year, would get a second start this week, Kelly said "Yeah, we'll see."
The coach didn't take long to come to a conclusion, announcing at his Monday news conference that Kaepernick will get another opportunity against the Bucs.
"Colin will be our quarterback against Tampa Bay," Kelly said. "I think there's some things that he did on Sunday that he can build upon. For his first extended playing time since last year, I thought there were some real positives there that I think we can try to build with him and get him going. It gives us the best chance against Tampa Bay this week."
Kelly gave Kaepernick his first start last week after five weeks with Blaine Gabbert as the starter. The Niners won the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams but have lost five straight since.
In his first start since returning from knee, shoulder and thumb surgeries, Kaepernick posted numbers similar to Gabbert's and had a few costly misfires to open receivers down the field. He finished 13-of-29 for 187 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 66 yards on eight carries with no turnovers.
"I think he kept a lot of plays alive," Kelly said. "Sometimes the protection broke down but he kept some plays alive from that standpoint. He did a good job keeping the ball out of harm's way, didn't throw any interceptions, didn't seem like there were (any) balls where you were like 'Geez, that was a close one.' Sometimes you can have a game you didn't throw any interceptions but you should have and the defense just dropped them.
"But I thought he did a good job protecting the football for us. Again, I think he had 66 yards rushing, gave us some opportunities there in the run game so going forward trying to build upon what he did this past week."
Sunday against Tampa Bay, Kaepernick will be making his first start at Levi's Stadium since Oct. 22, 2015, though he did make a cameo appearance in the season opener, handing off three times at the end of the win against the Rams. When the Niners last played at home against Arizona on Oct. 6, fans chanted, "We want Kap, we want Kap" in hopes that Kelly would make the change during that 33-21 defeat.
Kaepernick, who has drawn the ire of some for his protest of racial oppression and inequality, figures to get a warmer welcome at home than he did in Buffalo, where he was greeted by a loud chorus of boos as the offense first stepped on the field and fans chanted "USA, USA" at him just before he knelt during the playing of the national anthem.
After starting against the Bills, Kaepernick said the decision on whether he'd get another start isn't up to him but he'll try to make the most of any opportunity he gets.
"I went out, I played as hard as I could, gave this team everything I had and I'll continue to do that every week they let me," Kaepernick said.